Tibetan Plateau, Silk Road & Gobi Desert

An adventure for the discerning traveler. This epic journey takes you on the route through the Tibetan Plateau before embarking on the legendary Silk Road in Gansu Province and the Gobi Desert. An incredible sojourn of spectacular pursuit. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Stay in the best local hotels in each destination

Experience a stay in a luxury tented camp in the Tibetan Plateau

Experience diverse landscapes

Enjoy intimate experiences with locals

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE DUNHUANG

The journey begins in Dunhuang, an important city along the ancient Silk Road which directly led to the Western regions, Central Asia and Europe. As the westernmost city of the famed Hexi Corridor, Dunhuang mesmerizes with ancient history and surreal desert landscapes of the Gobi Desert. We make our first visit to the UNESCO-listed Mogao Caves, including special access to caves not normally accessible to the public. With our specialist guide, gain an insight into the most famous Buddhist grottoes in China where over a period of 1000 years and 10 dynasties, artists from these periods of Chinese history contributed to the magnificent work which amassed more than 490 caves and countless statues and murals. Thereafter, arrive at the foot of Mingsha Mountain surrounded by sand dunes to witness the famous Crescent Spring, renowned as the first spring in the desert. Seen from afar, the spring resembles a crescent moon and thus its name. Finally, we have the option of exploring the Mingsha sand dunes by camel or electric car to experience the surreal wavy dunes at nearing sunset. 

Overnight: The Silk Road Dunhuang Hotel, Dunhuang

Meals: Lunch & Dinner

DAY 2: DUNHUANG / JIAYUGUAN 

Today we drive to Jiayuguan and devote the day to visiting the gems around the "Mouth of China", so called due to its position at the western end of the Great Wall of China. These include the iconic Jiayuguan Fort and the Overhanging Great Wall which is a rebuilt section of the wall offering a bird's eye view of the endless Gobi Desert and snow-capped peaks in the distance. This evening, visit the Night Market for a fascinating introduction to the local snacks and witness the atmospheric zest of the city. 

Overnight: Plaza Holiday Inn, Jiayuguan

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

DAY 3: JIAYUGUAN / ZHANGYE

Continue on the road today to Zhangye. Make a visit to the Wei Jin Tombs with over 1400 tombs built between the 3rd and 5th Century with fascinating paintings and murals. Thereafter, we journey on to visit the spectacular Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, renowned for its colourfully-layered rock formations formed by the erosion of red sandstone, forming isolated peaks and steep stratified outcrops. Its special geological structure, combined with long term desert conditions, freeze-thaw peeling and wind and water erosion gave rise to its present appearance. We spend some time at various viewing platforms to witness different colours and perspectives of this magnificent natural wonder. 

Overnight: Lvzhou Holiday Hotel, Zhangye

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

DAY 4: ZHANGYE / XINING

We officially leave the Hexi Corridor as we transfer to the Zhangye train station for a high speed bullet train journey to Xining (2hrs journey), capital city of Qinghai Province. On arrival, visit the Ta'er Monastery in the town of Huangzhong, an important religious center for monks and followers of the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Built in 1577, it is a sacred ground and its spectacular size covering more than 144 square metres, housing more than 9300 rooms and 52 halls. Return thereafter to Xining city to visit the Dongguan Mosque, the biggest mosque in Qinghai Province and fascinates with its Chinese traditional architecture with Islamic features and influence. This evening, we visit the famous Daxin Night Market, the most ideal site to understand the local lifestyle and taste the many local specialities and snacks of the area. 

Overnight: Sofitel, Xining

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

DAY 5: XINING / XIAHE

Begin our journey south to Xiahe in the Tibetan Plateau where our drive takes us through some of the most stunning country landscapes and spectacular mountain ranges. Arrive at the beautiful environments of Norden Camp, a luxurious tented camp surrounded by endless miles of fields, abundant wildlife including foxes and gazelles and amazing fields of wildflowers. Founded and staffed by nomads, you will experience an opportunity of a lifetime to marvel at the wilderness, go horseback riding, visit local nomad families and interact with them to learn about the nomadic lifestyle. 

Overnight: Norden Camp, Xiahe

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6: XIAHE

Today, we get on a guided visit to the famous Labrang Monastery. Founded in 1709, it is one of the six great monasteries of the Dalai Lama's sect and remains one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist sites, home to around 1500 monks. In addition to the chapels, residences gilded temples and monastic colleges, Labrang also houses a traditional printing press with 20000 woodblocks. This afternoon, we sit down for lunch with a local nomad family learning about their way of life, traditions and customs and exchange conversation about their land. Return to your camp thereafter and you may spend the rest of the day on horseback riding through the amazing prairie lands. 

Overnight: Norden Camp, Xiahe

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7: DEPARTURE XIAHE

We leave Xiahe today where we transfer to Xiahe Gannan Airport and end our journey or continue your adventures in China. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

The Silkroad Dunhuang Hotel charms with its unique architectural design and outstanding location against the backdrop of the Mingsha Sand Dunes. Boasting 271 tastefully appointed guestrooms, each unit is decorated and furnished with Chinese-style decor. Enjoy marvellous views from the rooftop bar to unwind while admiring the fantastic views of the Gobi Desert. 

The Silkroad Dunhuang Hotel, Dunhuang

Plaza Holiday Inn Jiayuguan is the best hotel in the city offering modern and comfortable rooms for the modern traveller. Rooms are furnished with classic, tasteful decorations and offers a convenient location to explore Jiayuguan Fort. 

Plaza Holiday Inn, Jiayuguan

The Lvzhou Holiday Hotel is the best hotel in the city of Zhangye with well-appointed modern rooms, classical decor, equipped with flat-screen tv and work desk. Its convenient location allows you to explore the city and the famous Zhangye Danxia Rock formations. 

Lvzhou Holiday Hotel, Zhangye

The Sofitel Xining is the first international five star branded hotel in the city of Xining. Situated in Northwest China sitting on the Tibetan Plateau and centrally located in Haihu district, it boasts 492 modern well appointed rooms for the modern and discerning traveller. 

Sofitel, Xining

The Norden Camp is an opportunity for the visitor to experience the Tibetan culture and outdoors in style and comfort. Situated 20mins out of Labrang, the famous Tibetan monastic town, the site is a great grazing area for local nomads in a stunning area covering 11 hectares.

Norden Camp, Xiahe

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